Can Breast Cancer in Men Be Prevented?

Since the cause of most breast cancers is not known, there is no known way to prevent them. But there are some things a man can do to lower his risk of breast cancer.

Get to and stay at a healthy weight: Both increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer in women. And since being overweight or obese is linked with an increased risk for several cancers, the American Cancer Society recommends you stay at a healthy weight throughout your life and avoid excess weight gain by balancing your food intake with physical activity.

Avoid or limit alcohol: Alcohol use increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked with an increase in risk. Alcohol use is linked with several cancers and is the third most important preventable risk factor for cancer. It is best not to drink alcohol. For men who do drink, they should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day.

Be physically active: Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk in women, as well as many other types of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Getting to or going over the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal.

For now, the best strategies for reducing the number of deaths caused by this disease are early detection and prompt treatment. Early detection has been a problem for men, who may not notice breast lumps or see their doctor only when the lumps have gotten large. In general, men are diagnosed with breast cancers at more advanced stages than are women.

To read more about other ways to reduce your cancer risk in general, such as keeping physically active and following a healthy eating pattern, see the American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on June 9, 2020.

References

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on June 9, 2020.

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

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